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Secret Academy Episode - Paul Howey

When Paul Howey's ecommerce startup started to pick up steam to the point of where he needed to start handling phone orders and service issues, Paul had very little options to choose aside from Google Voice which lacked in features. Luckily his brother was involved in telephony and had the technical knowledge to offset Paul's entrepreneurship background. Together they spent 6 months building Talkroute while they bootstrapped the business and survived on client consulting. Much of what Paul has done today to achieve 50,000 users is by simply listening and testing. When Talk Route first started, the only initial service it offered was VOIP so Paul took notes on what customers wanted and evolved Talkroute into what it is today, which is an affordable phone system for startups and entrepreneurs. Although in his mid 20s with over 50,000 customers that bring in $75,000 per month, Paul isn't satisfied and has created a goal of 150,000 customers.

Lesson's in Today's Interview:
  • How Paul came up with the idea of Talkroute with a personal need
  • Why they decided to build everything in-house rather than outsource
  • How Paul got his very first customers to try his telephone services
  • How Paul validated his business idea and features/services while building the product
  • The biggest challenge Paul faces today when trying to sell Talkroute
  • How Paul survived with no college degree and no 'full time' job
  • The two main marketing strategies that work to drive over 1000 sign ups a month
  • On the other hand, the two marketing strategies that DIDN'T work
  • When to leverage your personal self and when to scale your business
  • Why Paul doesn't fear larger competitors like Google Voice and actually embraces it
  • The exit strategy for Paul and how it could drive the direction of the business
  • How to overcome walking away from security in a job with benefits
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Juan Jimenez
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